cause

noun
\ ˈkȯz How to pronounce cause (audio) \

Definition of cause

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a reason for an action or condition : motive
b : something that brings about an effect or a result trying to find the cause of the accident
c : a person or thing that is the occasion of an action or state a cause for celebration especially : an agent that brings something about She is the cause of your troubles.
d : sufficient reason discharged for cause
2a : a ground of legal action
b : case They are paid by the cause for their expert opinions.
3 : a matter or question to be decided The city council is involved with school department causes.
4a : a principle or movement militantly defended or supported the insurgents' cause
b : a charitable undertaking for a good cause

cause

verb
caused; causing

Definition of cause (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to serve as a cause or occasion of cause an accident
2 : to compel by command, authority, or force caused him to resign

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Other Words from cause

Noun

causeless \ ˈkȯz-​ləs How to pronounce causeless (audio) \ adjective

Verb

causer noun

Examples of cause in a Sentence

Noun His symptoms had no apparent physical causes. She is the cause of all their problems. The medicine was prescribed without good cause. Their marriage was a cause for celebration. I can support a cause that means something to me. I'm willing to donate money as long as it's for a good cause. Verb He swerved and caused an accident. The flood caused great hardship. The illness is caused by a virus. The flood caused the town great hardship. You caused us a lot of extra work.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some children have lived in the camps for years, and at least nine children of European parents have died of preventable causes in recent years, according to Yasmine Ahmed, executive director of Rights and Security International, an advocacy group. Ben Hubbard, BostonGlobe.com, "Western countries leave children of ISIS in Syrian camps," 31 May 2020 One of those causes is the Youth Assistance Program that helps troubled children find mentors, programs, food, clothing and other services. John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star, "Hamilton County Council election pits experienced incumbents against big name challengers," 29 May 2020 The conservative Republican, who lived in the northern Dallas suburb of Plano, died at a Plano hospital of natural causes unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak, said his former spokesman, Ray Sullivan. Fox News, "Sam Johnson, former Texas congressman and Vietnam POW, dead at 89," 28 May 2020 While 636 deaths were attributed directly to the pandemic, an additional 756 people in the Russian capital died of other causes while testing positive for the virus, according to a health department statement published Thursday. Jake Rudnitsky, Bloomberg.com, "Moscow Says Coronavirus-Related Death Rate Is Twice Direct Toll," 28 May 2020 In December, Lori’s brother Alex Cox also died of unknown causes, according to reports. Arluther Lee, ajc, "Idaho mother’s ex-best friend reveals new details in missing children case," 28 May 2020 Coroners caution that deaths from other causes are likely up, too, including those from drug overdoses and among people who delayed treatment for problems like heart attacks. Anchorage Daily News, "US deaths tied to coronavirus surpass 100,000 milestone," 27 May 2020 As of Tuesday the Yuma hospital had 60 COVID-19 patients and officials said at least 14 patients had died of causes related COVID-19. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona hit a record high. Here's what that means," 27 May 2020 For a sense of common cause to appear, there has to be a sense of us: a community that is facing a threat and mounting a response. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Spitting on Other People," 26 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rookie Tennessee linebacker David Long, who had played only nine defensive snaps in his NFL career before the game, caused the fumble. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Tennessee Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans describes his best play," 18 May 2020 Trump used to tweet that vaccines may cause autism. David Remnick, The New Yorker, "What Donald Trump Shares with Joseph McCarthy," 17 May 2020 The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 bars lawsuits against foreign countries, except in narrow circumstances including injury, death or economic hardship caused directly by harmful action taken by the government. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "China threatens to sanction Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, other GOP lawmakers, over coronavirus criticism," 15 May 2020 In the event weather causes your date to be canceled, that ticket will be good towards any future date. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "With Florence Y'alls sidelined, UC Health Stadium welcomes drive-thru animal farm," 15 May 2020 The opposite is also true, Mann says: Reduced precipitation and low ice cover can speed up evaporation, causing levels to bottom out. Molly Glick, Popular Science, "The Great Lakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and we’re not sure what will happen next," 15 May 2020 Salon owners say the new policies and waivers have caused few issues. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "Mani, pedi, liability waiver: Salons look very different as they reopen amid pandemic," 15 May 2020 There's also a chance that COVID-19 may take the route of other cold-causing coronaviruses or the seasonal flu, circulating during a few specific months of the year and subsiding during other months. Amber Brenza, Health.com, "What Is an Endemic Virus? WHO Warns COVID-19 'May Never Go Away'," 14 May 2020 If that stress is constant, those levels don't drop, leading to cortisol malfunction and a disease-causing boost in inflammation. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "From migraines to asthma to shingles: The physical toll coronavirus-related stress takes on your body and how to combat it," 14 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cause.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cause

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cause

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin causa "judicial proceedings, interests of one side in a judicial case, plea, pretext, ground of action, motive, reason," of uncertain origin

Verb

Middle English causen, borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French causer, borrowed from Medieval Latin causāre, causārī "to plead, accuse, blame, serve as the cause of, occasion," going back to Latin causārī "to plead an action in law, plead as an excuse," derivative of causa "judicial proceedings, plea, cause entry 1"

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Time Traveler for cause

Time Traveler

The first known use of cause was in the 13th century

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Statistics for cause

Last Updated

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cause.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cause. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for cause

cause

noun
How to pronounce cause (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cause

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something or someone that produces an effect, result, or condition : something or someone that makes something happen or exist
: a reason for doing or feeling something
: something (such as an organization, belief, idea, or goal) that a group or people support or fight for

cause

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cause (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) happen or exist : to be the cause of (something)
: to make (someone) feel, have, or do something

cause

noun
\ ˈkȯz How to pronounce cause (audio) \

Kids Definition of cause

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a person or thing that brings about a result Carelessness is the cause of many accidents.
2 : a good or good enough reason for something His return was a cause for rejoicing.
3 : something supported or deserving support a worthy cause

cause

verb
caused; causing

Kids Definition of cause (Entry 2 of 3)

: to make happen or exist You'll cause an accident.
\ ˈkȯz How to pronounce cause (audio) , ˈkəz \

Kids Definition of cause (Entry 3 of 3)

cause

noun

Legal Definition of cause

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that brings about an effect or result the negligent act which was the cause of the plaintiff's injury

Note: The cause of an injury must be proven in both tort and criminal cases.

actual cause
: cause in fact in this entry
but-for cause
: cause in fact in this entry
cause in fact
: a cause without which the result would not have occurred

called also actual cause, but-for cause

concurrent cause
: a cause that joins simultaneously with another cause to produce a result

called also concurring cause

— compare intervening cause and superseding cause in this entry
direct cause
: proximate cause in this entry
efficient intervening cause
: superseding cause in this entry
intervening cause
1 : an independent cause that follows another cause in time in producing the result but does not interrupt the chain of causation if foreseeable

called also supervening cause

— compare concurrent cause and superseding cause in this entry
2 : superseding cause in this entry
legal cause
: proximate cause in this entry
procuring cause
: one (as a broker) that sets in motion a continuous series of events culminating especially in the sale or leasing of real estate entitled to a commission as the procuring cause of the sale even though the listing had expired
producing cause
: an efficient, exciting, or contributing cause (as an act, practice, or event) that produces an injury which would not have occurred without it claimed that the workplace accident was a producing cause of his disability used especially in workers' compensation and consumer protection cases

Note: A producing cause lacks the element of foreseeability associated with a proximate cause, being more exclusively concerned with causation in fact.

proximate cause
: a cause that sets in motion a sequence of events uninterrupted by any superseding causes and that results in a usually foreseeable effect (as an injury) which would not otherwise have occurred

called also direct cause, legal cause

— see also Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. — compare remote cause in this entry
remote cause
: a cause that is followed by a superseding cause interrupting the chain of causation also : a cause that in ordinary experience does not lead to a particular effect — compare proximate cause in this entry
superseding cause
: an unforeseeable intervening cause that interrupts the chain of causation and becomes the proximate cause of the effect

called also efficient intervening cause, intervening cause

— compare concurrent cause and intervening cause in this entry
supervening cause
: intervening cause in this entry
2 : a reason or justification for an action or state (as belief): as
a : good cause in this entry an appeal dismissed for cause
b : just cause in this entry behavior that constitutes cause to terminate an employee

Note: The circumstances under which cause, good cause, just cause, probable cause, reasonable cause, or sufficient cause exists are determined on a case by case basis. These terms are often used interchangeably, and the distinctions between them are sometimes unclear.

good cause
: a substantial reason put forth in good faith that is not unreasonable, arbitrary, or irrational and that is sufficient to create an excuse for an act under the law unable to show good cause for failure to pay child support neglect of duty is good cause for removal of a trustee
just cause
1 : cause that a person of ordinary intelligence would consider a fair and reasonable justification for an act used especially in cases involving termination of employment and denial of unemployment benefits
2 : good cause in this entry
probable cause \ ˈprä-​bə-​bəl-​ \
1 : a reasonable ground in fact and circumstance for a belief in the existence of certain circumstances (as that an offense has been or is being committed, that a person is guilty of an offense, that a particular search will uncover contraband, that an item to be seized is in a particular place, or that a specific fact or cause of action exists) when supported by probable cause, warrantless search of vehicle may extend to every part of vehicle where objects of search might be concealedState v. Nixon, 593 N.E.2d 1210 (1992)

called also reasonable cause, sufficient cause

— compare reasonable suspicion

Note: The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause.” Probable cause is also required for a warrantless arrest. Probable cause is an objective standard rather than a function of subjective opinion or suspicion not grounded in fact or circumstance. However, the facts or circumstances need not be of the nature of certainty necessary to establish proof in court.

2 : justification for an administrative search based on a showing that it is to be conducted in accordance with standardized nonarbitrary regulatory procedures designed to further public interest in regulatory enforcement that outweighs the intrusiveness of the search
reasonable cause
1 : probable cause in this entry also : a fact or circumstance that justifies a reasonable suspicion — compare reasonable suspicion
2 : a reason that would motivate a person of ordinary intelligence under the circumstances reasonable cause to believe abuse had occurred
3 : something (as an event or the exercise of ordinary care or prudence) that excuses or justifies failure to file a tax return on time
sufficient cause
: cause that is deemed enough to provide an excuse under the law: as
a : good cause in this entry often used in the phrase good and sufficient cause
b : probable cause in this entry
3a : a ground of a legal action tortious conduct is not a cause of divorce embraced within the statutory cause of cruel and inhuman treatmentCase & Comment
b : case questions of law…determinative of the cause then pending— R. T. Gerwatowski
4 in the civil law of Louisiana : the reason for making a contract — compare frustration sense 2

Note: Under the Louisiana Civil Code, if a contract's cause is illicit or immoral, the contract is absolutely null. If the cause fails after the contract is made (as when a leased building cannot be occupied because of a fire), the contract may either be not enforced or only partially enforced.

caused; causing

Legal Definition of cause (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to serve as the cause of the scales struck the plaintiff causing injuries for which she suesPalsgraf v. Long Island R.R. Co., 162 N.E. 99 (1928)
2 : to effect by command, authority, or force the administrator shall cause an investigation to be made

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More from Merriam-Webster on cause

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cause

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cause

Spanish Central: Translation of cause

Nglish: Translation of cause for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cause for Arabic Speakers

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